A few weeks ago I attended Distilled's SearchLove. A two day search feast for the mind. A buffet of digital marketing knowledge that always leaves me brimming with ideas and an insight into some of the best minds in the industry.
What I love most about conferences like SearchLove is that it makes you stop what you're doing and listen.
In the office or at home, I'll often be doing two things at once and probably not really paying attention to either, so sometimes it can be hard to actually find the time to stop and learn. And if you don't find the time to keep up with the latest trends, you fall behind. It's great to come away brimming with really great tips and ideas you want to implement but then when you're back in the office, it's easy to forget those ideas or not have have time the to implement them. So seeing as I don’t get the time to implement most of the things I find out at conferences until a couple of months later, these are my top tips and tools from SearchLove (that I’ll be implementing throughout 2014) but hopefully something you can try right now :)
Danny Scheinmann centred his talk around the theme of storytelling and why it's an important factor to consider in marketing a business or brand. We are always looking for stories, in sports, news, movies and friends and it's often the power of a story that can evoke emotion and move you to action.
By creating or telling a story, it can add worth to an otherwise meaningless object and in relation to business, it can give meaning to what you do and make it more memorable. One of the examples Danny gave was the Dove real beauty campaign. They gave a simple product like soap a very powerful story that increased the brand's value from $1billion to $2billion.
Another good example is the John Lewis TV ad. I bet you remember the snowman and his journey but what about the Debenhams advert? Remember what it was about a year on? I know I don't...
Try it yourself
The next time you're creating a campaign, slogan or mission statement – ask yourself if it can tell a story or is it memorable?
If you say you go the extra mile, tell the story of how you go the extra mile. When you say you have great customer service – what is it? Tell the stories that show how great your customer service actually is (Nordstrom is a good example of demonstrating legendary customer service)
Test, test and test again
It can be easy to assume something works and then just want to stick to that formula. But often you’ll go to replicate it and find that it hasn’t worked as well. Without testing you don’t know if it was a green button or the vivid image that harnessed those extra likes.
I really enjoyed listening to the talk from Amelia Showalter who worked on the Obama re-election campaign. When emailing out to donors, they tested everything! Language, subject lines, colour, personalisation and even making the email look less attractive. By doing extensive A/B testing of emails they found that ugly highlighting, mild cursing in subject lines and casual language all returned positive results, all of which helped to increase donations significantly.
Try it yourself
-Don’t trust your instinct – What you may think will work, probably won't - so test it!
-Make it personal or informal - help create a more human experience (try 'Hey' instead of 'Hello')
-Never stop coming up with new ideas because you can test to see if they work. Testing= constant improvement
Personalisation & behaviour
When designing a website or recreating your online brand in another country, you need to consider how different traditions and cultures will influence how we receive information. Nathalie Nahai delved into the amazing depths you can go to, to be persuasive online (and if you've got the time, you should definitely check out Nathalie’s slides below)
If you were to compare China to Spain, both have very different goals and value sets. China is very focused on long term goals and places importance on skills, education, frugality and hard work. Spain focuses on short term goals like creativity, quick results and live for the moment. If your business wanted to launch a website in each of these countries, one design may not work for both, so you would have to think about how the look and feel would appeal for each culture and their individual goals.
Try it yourself
If you’re having a website localised, designed or translated for another country – make sure you have someone native to that country to check or design your website. Symbols, body language, social contexts and puns can all have different meanings between cultures. Check that your images aren't culturally insensitive or that you haven’t used country specific puns (take a look at these brand blunders for some examples of how easily it can go wrong).
There were some really great talks across the two days and I would definitely recommend having a look at the speakers slides below, there's a lot of really great advice on analytics, graph theory, paid links and much, much more!
Kelvin Newman - Graph Theory: The Most Important Theory in Search That No One Talks About
Wil Reynolds - Google Approved Paid Links? Yes, There is Such a Thing
Peep Laja - Principles of Persuasive Web Design
Chris Bennet - How to Win Fans and Influence Users
Stacey Cavanagh - 36 Tips, Tricks and Tools for Baiting Brand Signals Through Content
Paul Madden - Goodbye Spam, Hello Data
Bridget Randolph - So, You have A Mobile Friendly Website, What Now?
Will Critchlow - Making Your Mark Online: Local Business
Craig Bradford - You Probably Don't Need More Traffic
Abby Covert - Lessons From an Ontology Nerd
Aleyda Solis - How to Succeed at Real (Not Ideal) International SEO Scenarios
Simon Penson - The New Rules of Big Content Promotion